HC Deb 05 April 1955 vol 539 cc974-5
7. Mr. Gough

asked the Secretary of State for War when, and why, Royal Army Medical Corps surgical teams were removed from the establishment of a parachute battalion.

Mr. Head

Field surgical teams manned by the Royal Army Medical Corps have never been included in the establishment of a parachute battalion. They are held as an Army pool and six are allotted to the Airborne Division. In airborne operations they drop with the field ambulances providing medical aid.

Mr. Gough

Will not my right hon. Friend agree that during the war there were, in fact, surgical teams with the battalions, which dropped with the battalions, and which saved thousands of lives?

Mr. Head

Yes, Sir, but they were still held in a pool and attached to the battalions for operations, possibly for a prolonged period. I understand that this has always been the system in an airborne division.